Alcohol use: Weighing risks and benefits

An analysis of data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicated that non-student EAs report slightly higher levels of heavy episodic drinking than same-age EAs who are college students (40% vs. 37%) [12]. Other epidemiological data suggest that, relative to college graduates, adults without a college degree consume more drinks per occasion and have elevated lifetime risk for AUD/SUD [13]. Just one or two alcoholic drinks can impair your balance, coordination, impulse control, memory, and decision-making.

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  • Around 29 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities involve alcohol.
  • Chronic alcohol abuse can wreak havoc on your body and brain, increasing your risk of many diseases.
  • Childhood trauma, mental health issues, and stress can also lead people to begin drinking or drink more than usual.
  • The rising rates of severe morbidity and mortality from ALD underscore a pressing need to screen patients for heavy drinking, assess for AUD, and recommend evidence-based AUD treatment.
  • During this time, deaths from excessive drinking among males increased approximately 27%, from 94,362 per year to 119,606, and among females increased approximately 35%, from 43,565 per year to 58,701.

They can help you feel confident and ready to communicate effectively and compassionately, which can help prevent problems down the line. Schools have the potential to be a safe environment where teachers can work with parents, healthcare professionals, and community members to implement effective drug and alcohol prevention strategies. They can also identify students who show risks for drug-related problems and make the appropriate referrals for support services. Dr. Siegel attributed the surge possibly to people’s high stress levels during the pandemic alongside increased home-delivery services offered by the beverage industry.


Of major concern is the number of young people who consume alcohol. Research suggests that 20 percent of college students meet the criteria for AUD, and the condition affects some 623,000 adolescents aged 12 to 17 years. The body absorbs alcohol relatively quickly, but it takes longer to get the alcohol out of the body. Consuming several drinks in a short time causes the alcohol builds up in the body. Alcohol use can factor into mental health symptoms that closely resemble those of other mental health conditions.

consequences of alcohol

Evidence-based alcohol policies (e.g., reducing the number and concentration of places selling alcohol and increasing alcohol taxes) could help reverse increasing alcohol-attributable death rates. Recommendations for alcohol intake are usually based on the number of standard drinks per day. Numerous factors can predispose people to problematic drinking, such as family history, social environment, mental health and genetics. Some people become addicted to the effects of alcohol, a condition known as alcohol dependence or alcoholism.

What is excessive drinking?

The rising rates of severe morbidity and mortality from ALD underscore a pressing need to screen patients for heavy drinking, assess for AUD, and recommend evidence-based AUD treatment. (See Core articles on screening and assessment and treatment. For practice guidance on diagnosing and treating ALD, see Resources below). There are many consequences of using drugs at a young age, including accidents, injuries, unprotected sex, homicide, suicide, and intoxicated driving.

consequences of alcohol

Among chronic illnesses, which comprise the largest category, cirrhosis of the liver has killed more than 138,000 Americans during this time. Cirrhosis is the result of cumulative damage to the liver leading to scarring and compromised liver function, most often due to chronic alcohol use, and can cause total liver failure and death. Signs of AUD may also include drinking to alleviate negative emotions such as feeling “low,” anxious, consequences of alcohol uneasy, unhappy, unwell, dissatisfied with life, or other negative emotions that were caused or worsened by alcohol misuse. “The good news is that earlier stages of steatotic liver disease are usually completely reversible in about four to six weeks if you abstain from drinking alcohol,” Dr. Sengupta assures. Steatotic liver disease develops in about 90% of people who drink more than 1.5 to 2 ounces of alcohol per day.

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